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Mormons, Mormons Everywhere

By Angela Hallstrom

When I moved to Minnesota in 1998, a number of my new Midwestern friends and acquaintances saw my Mormonism as a curiosity. Many of the people I met had never known a Mormon “in real life” before, and a few held some interesting misconceptions. A woman in my MFA program assumed I had left the Church because she was certain that faithful Mormon women couldn’t wear makeup, and I “obviously used mascara.” When my husband and I sat down with a local builder to discuss purchasing a home, he learned we were from Utah and asked the inevitable follow-up question, but with a twist: “So were you guys Mormon?”

“Were?” I asked.

“Yeah. When you lived in Utah. Were you Mormon?”

“Well, yes. We were Mormon then. And we’re still Mormon now.”

He looked puzzled. “So they let you stay Mormon even if you leave the state of Utah?” (I don’t know if he assumed allegiance to the Mormon church was like old fashioned Eastern bloc communist party membership: once we got in our hot air balloon and sailed over Utah’s border during the dark of night, under threat of machine gun attack, all affiliations were thereby severed.)

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